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Old 12-29-2005, 03:04 AM   #1
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I've seen a couple of threads on this forum that make mention of pickpockets in Rome. I figured I'd elaborate on the subject a bit considering my shocking and appalling first hand experiences with them.

I spent 4 days in Rome on my first trip to Italy. By the end of my first day there myself and all 3 of my travelling companions had lost count of the number of times someone had tried to pick our pockets.

Luckily upon arriving at our hostle the manager warned us about this and offered to lock up our paperwork and money in the safe behind the managment desk.

We each took small amounts of spending money out with us each day and kept it in our shoes. Best decisions we had ever made.

For the 4 whole days I was there I was hardly without someone trying to sneak a hand in one of my pockets or trying to nonchalantly undo the latches on my messenger bag.

The metro was the worst. A man attempted to get into my traveling companions backpack while I was blatantly staring at him. When I tapped him on the shoulder he stopped and just moved on to the next person. The next person caught him too and spent the rest of his trainride yelling at the pickpocket in Italian and the pickpocket just stood there with a "yeah, like I havn't heard this before" look on his face. Completely unphased.

We also went on a pubcrawl while there. All of the atendees were of non-Italian origins asside from two. The two managed to pick the barcrawl money out of 6 peoples pockets on the busride to the first pub and disapeared before anyone knew they were missing money.

Be careful about calling the pickpockets out if you happen to catch one though. While at the train station, waiting to buy my ticket to Germany, I caught one by the arm as he was trying to remove his hand from my back pocket. I kind of snapped and yelled at him in every language I know. He was quickly backed up by 2 of his friends and a police officer. Luckily the police officer understood enough english for me to explain to him that the man had been trying to rob me otherwise I have a sneeking suspicion I would have been ejected from the train station without a ticket or even arrested.

Moral of the story. Keep your stuff close to you in Rome.

The whole experience has been kind of an in joke with my friends and I ever since.

"Well, you know, When in Rome . . . "
"What? You want me to pick your pockets?"
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:57 AM   #2
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that sucks...total opposite experience than I had in Rome. No trouble at all..
when I'm travelling though I always keep my wallet in my front pocket...with my hand in the pocket if it's a crowded area.
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Old 12-29-2005, 05:57 AM   #3
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^ I do the same. My passport and/or cash is never in a spot easily accessible by anyone other than me. And sometimes I even have a hard time getting it.

Like when I put it in my resevoir pocket on my camelbak. It was always my favorite place to stash it.
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Old 12-29-2005, 06:16 AM   #4
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I had two attempted pick pockets while i was in Rome.

The first time i was lining up for the vatican, when this guy who looked like a street bum was suddenly standing behind me, when i turned to look at him he was suddenly staring intently at the wall next to him, and wyz noticed that the zip of my daypack was slightly open. so i quickly took it of and held it infront of me. (not that i ever kept anything valuable in there, all he would have gotten was a jumber, a water bottle and a hat )

The other time was on the subway, as i was getting onto a fairly crowded train i felt someone open the zip of my bag, and i was being herded away from my friends, so i just pushed my way to my friends and had wyz check my pack and keep an eye on everything.

The thing with rome as with all crowded places is to keep anything valuable very close to you, and use common sence.
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Old 12-29-2005, 06:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for the report! At least you can make jokes about it.
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Old 12-29-2005, 10:08 AM   #6
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I had no problem at all in Rome. I had my money belt on and I never took the metro. There is just too much cool stuff to see in Rome to bother with a dirty tunnel. I never kept more than 40 euros in an outside pocket anyway. That's just good practice. If I had big bills they went in the ankles of my socks.

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Old 12-29-2005, 11:58 AM   #7
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Yeah- there was my welcome to Rome... little shit moved so damned fast I couldn't catch up with him!

They have you 'marked' from the moment you step into certain places. Pay attention, and you won't have any problems.
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:14 PM   #8
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Wow, I had no idea that Rome was such a hotspot for the pick pockets. Good to know for the future just in case.

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Old 12-29-2005, 02:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by SuDz@Dec 29 2005, 02:14 PM
Wow, I had no idea that Rome was such a hotspot for the pick pockets. Good to know for the future just in case.

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Yeah. I've heard that it's only during high tourist season that they're bad. But apparently the problem is bad enough to have warning signs about it in quite a few languages EVERYWHERE on the metro, in train stations, and outside some famous tourist spots.
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Old 12-31-2005, 10:43 AM   #10
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It must be our traveller/tourist vibes... they can smell us, especially when we move in packs.


Then they isolate you from the herd, and it's all over for that weak one...

... oh no, wait. I was thinking about Baby and Wedding Showers... this is about pickpockets and travelling, right??!!
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Old 12-31-2005, 11:44 AM   #11
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do you think that wearing a money belt would drastically reduce this risk?
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Old 12-31-2005, 12:18 PM   #12
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I could never imagine wearing a money belt... It just seems annoying and inconvinient...

I would probably just put money in a front pocket and do what other people already said--put large bills in my socks/shoes...

Thanks for the warning!
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:02 PM   #13
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I have heard stories (ain't that always the case) about travellers using money belts, and getting held up at knife point, and the guys know where to look.

I'm with Julia, I'd imagine that they would be uncomfortable and annoying to wear under your shirt. I have stuffed cash in my bra when I go out. It's not like you wouldn't notice someone reaching into THAT pocket on the Metro or in a crowd.
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Old 01-02-2006, 04:37 AM   #14
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I have worn money belts and yeah they can be uncomforatble but they get the job done and keep pockets free...unless you get held up at knife point
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Old 01-03-2006, 12:35 AM   #15
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Money belts work well for me just because of certain quirks I have about personal fashion.

I almost always wear knee high boots and I almost always wear pants. I had a money belt that strapped around my calf and was well hidden under flare leg jeans.

Any time I wasn't wearing said boots or said pants though, yes the belt was insanely uncomfortable and I ended up just keeping cash in my sneakers or in my bra. (Though shopkeepers look at you funny when you reach in your shirt for money and aren't very pleased if the money happens to be sweaty when you hand it to them. Not a good idea for Rome in the summer.)
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When you get food poisoning from eating sushi in Paris, Have the worst hangover of your life from pubcrawls in Berlin, Cry because your wallet got stolen in Rome, and freak out because you realize you're out of money by the time you hit London just remember, "Pain is just ignorance leaving the body." LIVE AND LEARN.
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by aurorachrisma@Jan 3 2006, 02:35 AM
I ended up just keeping cash in my sneakers or in my bra. (Though shopkeepers look at you funny when you reach in your shirt for money and aren't very pleased if the money happens to be sweaty when you hand it to them. Not a good idea for Rome in the summer.)
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